Our proactive settlement scheme gives financial businesses the opportunity to resolve a complaint early on in our process.  

Some changes will apply to the way the scheme runs from the end of June 2024. 

Over the last couple of years, we have trialled a new way to help financial business and their customers resolve complaints more quickly. By using proactive settlement financial businesses can make an offer to resolve a complaint before we carry out a full investigation.  

Our proactive settlement scheme:  

  • allows businesses to review their position early in our process 
  • means the case is recorded as ‘proactively settled’ in our complaints data, rather than as a ‘change in outcome’  
  • offers consumers the chance to get their complaint resolved promptly  

While we trialled proactive settlement, we listened to feedback from participants. When the trial ended, we reviewed the scheme and found that it had added a useful option to help customers resolve complaints quickly. We also identified a few ways it could improve.  

So, from 24 June 2024 we will introduce some changes to the scheme criteria.   

Changes from 24 June  

We want to help our customers use the scheme and keep it simple to run.  

Simplifying the scheme   

The purpose of the scheme is to resolve cases more quickly so, from 24 June, businesses must make an offer within 14 days from when the case moves to investigation.  

In our trial, businesses were able to make the offer within 21 days, as long as they notified us within 14. However, we think only one timescale for the scheme helps to keep it clear to understand and simple to administer.

Communicating with our customers  

When we receive an offer, we will assess whether it meets the scheme criteria. If not, we’ll let the business know why and that we’ll be investigating the case in the normal way.   

When we communicate the offer to the customer, we will offer them guidance to help them decide whether to accept it.    

Improving our internal processes  

We have also changed how we work internally to embed the process permanently and to ensure we can continue to send offers on to customers promptly.  

How to proactively settle complaints with the Financial Ombudsman  

For a case to meet the scheme criteria and be resolved as proactively settled:  

  • you must make your offer in writing within 14 calendar days of being notified that the case has moved to investigation  
  • when you put forward your offer, you must make it clear that you are making it under the ‘proactive settlement scheme’  
  • the offer should be different from any previous offer you have made to your customer, including in your business’s final response letter  
  • you should explain why you are making the offer and provide relevant supporting information  
  • your customer must accept the offer and you must resolve the complaint without the need for further investigation  

You will find more details about how to proactively settle complaints – including the process guide and criteria that applies – on our How we handle complaints page.

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